“Tips from Former Smokers” continues its success

NEW YORK – A report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the tremendous impact the second “Tips from Former Smokers” media campaign had on helping smokers quit and on saving lives. The report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that the media campaign increased calls by more than 150,000, a 75 percent increase to 1-800-QUITNOW. The campaign’s website, www.cdc.gov/tips, also received 2.8 million additional visits during the campaign.

Television ads made the biggest difference in prompting tobacco users to seek help in quitting. The report shows the efficacy of television advertising reaching smokers and points to the need for increased and sustained levels of funding for paid media campaigns. The “Tips” campaign was funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

“The “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign is a true success story and proves that these types of hard-hitting media campaigns create change,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “This campaign was particularly effective because it featured real, relatable people. These former smokers could be a family member, co-worker, or any number of loved ones. What we have seen in the Northeast mirrors what the rest of the country has seen; more smokers have made successful quit attempts. The CDC’s latest weekly report shows that when funds are invested in promoting the quit smoking resources people need, they pay attention and more will make quit attempts.”

The latest “Tips” campaign ran for 16 weeks in the spring of 2013. The “Tips” ads featured several people whose lives have been changed forever by their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. One of the most well-known and emotional ads featured Terrie Hall, who was diagnosed with smoking-caused oral and throat cancers at age 40. Sadly, Ms. Hall passed away this week from a recurrence of her cancer. The compassionate reaction to this news on social media on Tuesday showed that Terrie’s message resonated.

This report comes on the heels of news last week from The Lancet that the first “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign that ran in 2012 reduced the number of smokers in the U.S. by 100,000, with 1.6 million more smokers attempting to quit.  Together these studies show that the investment of the Prevention and Public Health Fund in this media campaign is driving down tobacco use.

Following on the CDC’s “Tips” campaign, the American Lung Association launched the “Quitter in You” campaign to empower people trying to quit smoking by acknowledging that past quit attempts are not failures, but are normal and necessary steps along the way to quitting for good. The campaign features a web site at www.quitterinyou.org, radio in English and Spanish and Out-of-Home public service announcements, and a wealth of personalized tools and support from the American Lung Association.  These include the Lung Association’s Lung Helpline (1-800-LUNG-USA), Freedom From Smoking® Online and Freedom From Smoking® in-person clinic.

“The majority of smokers are only successful in their quit attempts after several tries,” said Seyler. ”The American Lung Association is available every step of the way to support smokers with all they need to quit for good.”


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